Marigolds, cockleshells and dad


Everything will be alright in the end. If it’s not alright then it’s not the end yet.

This is a very perceptive mantra that a key character from the film ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ repeats to stay positive in the face of adversity, including the ever-present threat of losing his hotel business in the beautiful city of Jaipur, India. The feared outcome is not life or death, but for him it is personally very important. In the end he realises it is not as meaningful as a close relationship with someone, which is perhaps the underlying message of the film.

Paddy Ashdown’s book the “Cockleshell Heroes” is about a group of WW2 British commandos who undertook an incredibly brave canoe mission within occupied France from which only 2 out of 10 returned alive.

The leader, Major Herbert ‘Blondie’ Hasler, successfully sank German ships in the port of Bordeaux, despite enormous personal risk, and then travelled back safely overland to Gibraltar. The mission for Hasler lasted 4 months all told between leaving and arriving back in the UK, with numerous episodes of narrow escape from the clutches of the Gestapo. Hasler was determined to complete his mission come what may and take at least one of his team back home with him, which he managed despite the heavy odds against this.

My final anecdote is about my father and sort of links the 2 stories together with me.

This is a photo of my father when he was a young man taken with his mother.

My father had wanted to join the British Army during WW2 but was ruled out because of a dodgy knee. much to the relief of his mother. As it was he would have been too young for Hasler’s mission. In the event he had to make his own way in life and succeeded in joining an expanding tractor company, leading its export business in the Far East, where he met and married my mother in India. Not Jaipur but Bangalore in the south, which has now become a sprawling metropolis. I arrived on the scene a few years later in Madras, now Chennai.

When Hasler retired from the Army he eventually set up on a small farm in the Scottish Highlands and used to love driving his tractor, built by my father’s company. Despite loyal service to this company for a large part of his working life they decided to make my father redundant in the 1970s. He continued for a while with the employment route but then eventually decided to go it alone as consultant. This is what I am doing now.

When he finally retired my father focused on education, my current field of operations. As said in my previous post, this is an area that may need mending but I am not convinced that politicians know how to do this. So I will continue to push for local projects and solutions.

Everything will be alright in the end. If it’s not alright then it’s not the end yet.

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4 thoughts on “Marigolds, cockleshells and dad

  1. Really good to read this about your father.

    Michael

    From: behrfacts <comment-reply@wordpress.com> Reply-To: behrfacts <comment+p3k39rjvhdjqglk_gm40nv@comment.wordpress.com> Date: Tuesday, 30 October 2012 19:59 To: Michael Reiss <m.reiss@ioe.ac.uk> Subject: [New post] Marigolds, cockleshells and dad

    behrfacts posted: “Everything will be alright in the end. If it’s not alright then it’s not the end yet. This is a very perceptive mantra that a key character from the film ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ repeats to stay positive in the face of adversity, including the”

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